Recently, I began doing research on how to transport my vehicle across the United States. One of the first hits on Google.com to supposedly provide reviews on shipping companies was transportreviews.com, a website owned by Andrew Wash of greater Cincinnati, Ohio. Upon further investigation of this website, I found numerous indications of both unethical practices as well as lack of credibility that consumers should be aware of.
First and foremost, this website does not provide credible reviews and information. While supposed customers are able to post reviews, often those that are negative are removed per the request of auto-shippers that have even the slightest issue with the review. This and evidence of other issues are evidence from a New York Times article: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/your-money/on-a-review-site-car-carriers-get-the-last-word-haggler.html?_r=0
The credibility further (as well as ethical issues) becomes problematic due to the fact that when you investigate the inner workings of the website, reviewers are able to be PAID to leave positive reviews. A few reputable auto-shippers with "A" ratings from the Better Business Bureau as well as those highly rated on Angie's List that I spoke too indicated that when a negative review is posted that reviewers or the website are compensated to raise the rating (or just have them removed). It should be noted that while this information is not verifiable, it is interesting that the auto-shipping companies that provided these comments have positive comments on transportreviews as well., so they essentially criticizing something that is giving them favorable comments. Why would they do that?
Another point of research is that if one investigates Andrew Walsh and Valley Solutions, who run the site, will notice that they own/operate other auto-transportation websites. This is verifiable if you know how to use domain registration look-up systems as well as other resources that are used by auto transportation brokers. Those with business degrees note that this represents a clear conflict of interest as well as questionable ethical practices.
Test of the system. I was able to post both a positive review as well as a negative review (using different information) on the companies site. While the system requests information to verify that you have shipped a vehicle, the system is flawed. The positive review I posted still exists on the website, while the negative review was removed within 24 hours citing that they couldn't find proof that I actually shipped a car with said company. While true that I hadn't shipped a vehicle in either case, why has the positive review not been removed as well of same said company?
Also noted in the aforementioned NY Times article as well as reviews from the Yelp-Cincinnati, the site gives favoritism to those who pay for have premium listings on the site. While favoring their search rankings and listings if fine, the favoritism also extends to the removal of poor reviews, thus not providing a balanced viewpoint for consumers.
Interestingly, when I contacted one of the very highly reviewed companies on the website that has consumer complaints via the Better Business Bureau, a rating of "F" from the BBB as well as other shady practices, they indicated that Transportreviews a credible resource and the BBB requires people to pay the BBB to receive an "A" rating. While not directly related to TransportReviews, this further indicates the issues with both the website and the industry.
Lastly, while there are other reviews here on the rip-off-report website that the company says are simply not true, there is no evidence presented by them to refute those claims.